KU-EHS May Safety Tip: Hand Trucks

While hand trucks can help make our jobs easier by reducing the need for manual lifting, there is more to hand trucks than meets the eye. In fact, used improperly, hand trucks can cause injuries rather than help to prevent them.

1. What is the first rule of thumb when it comes to using a hand truck?

  • Use the correct hand truck for the job.
  • Different types of hand trucks include: folding hand trucks, platform carts, convertible hand trucks, service carts, stair climbers and dollies.
  • If you’re not sure which type of hand truck to use, check with a manager or supervisor.

Improperly loading hand trucks can result in toppled loads and runaway trucks, leading to accidents and injuries among users and bystanders.

2. What are some rules for loading hand trucks?

  • Always place the heaviest loads on the bottom of the hand truck.
  • Never load a hand truck beyond its maximum rated weight capacity.
  • Loads that are awkward or bulky should be secured to the hand truck with heavy-duty nylon belts.
  • Loads should not be stacked so high as to obstruct one's vision

3. True or False? It makes no difference whether you push or pull a hand cart.

The answer is false.

  • Always avoid pulling a hand cart.
  • Pushing a hand cart requires less force, which reduces the strain placed on your body.
  • When using a hand cart, you want the cart and your legs to do the work, not your back.

4. Prior to use, it is important to conduct a brief inspection of the hand truck to ensure it is in good condition. What is one of the most important things to check before you use a hand truck?

  • Tire pressure.
  • Hand trucks with tires that are under-pressured or unevenly pressured require more force to move, which in turn, increases the amount of physical stress placed on the body.
  • Check the pressure on balloon tires at least once every three months.

Follow Proper Procedures

Used properly, hand trucks can help us move the heaviest of loads with ease. It all comes down to following the proper procedures that we've outlined here.